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Sometimes thank you is not enough.

Some of you know Big Willie. He has been here for a long time. I will bet that most people don’t know that he is the kind of person who will give you the shirt right off of his back.

I went to high school with Big Willie so I have know him for some time. My first outside experience with Big Willie was on an elk hunt to Montana. We had drawn tags for a unit that will remain nameless. I looked forward to this hunt for a long time. The unit is very hard to draw and this was the year to hunt for horns. I felt that I had an advantage due to the fact that Big Willie is a great horseman and has a full team of trail and pack horses.

Our destination was some 16 miles in to the meanest country that God every created. It was slow going on account of the snow. On our way in we encountered several elk herds and saw several nice bulls. The anticipation was almost to much as we set camp. The next morning we headed out. We spotted some really nice bulls up on a ridge top. After glassing them for some time we made a plan and moved out. I backtracked and went down the canyon and up and around and Big Willie moved in to a point that we believed the elk would pass if I pushed them this way. After about three hours in a foot of snow I was ready to make my move on the elk. As I crested the ridge I could see the elk about 125 yards out looking down the hill. I raised my rifle and took careful aim at the largest bull that I have ever seen. Right as I pulled the trigger the snow/ground beneath my feet gave away. I do not have any account of what happened next. In a rush of snow , dirt and forest debris I went down the hill. It seemed like an hour before I stopped but it was only seconds. I was confused. After a few minutes I realized that my left ankle was throbbing and I could not get it free. Slowly I moved what ever I could. Finally I could see that my ankle was twisted up in a green branch . I tried and tried and could not free my leg.

It was some time before Big Willie could get to me. Now well into the day it was clear that we were going to have to stay the night. Big Willie freed my ankle and attended to the wound. No question that it was broken. He made a bed for me in the snow and a pillow out of branches. With his space blanket he made a tent . As the night poured in I became cold to a point where I needed medical attention to survive. Big Willie took off his coat and laid next to me to keep my body heat up. I do not think that I would have made it through that night without the added warmth. The next day Big Willie was able to get me out on my horse. Unfortunately, he was not able to complete the hunt.

This story in itself is enough for one lifetime but you do not know Big Willie. Recently I hurt my back. The damage was such that I needed to have surgery to correct the problem. I will miss all of Fall Chinook season this year.

Big Willie heard about my situation and again did something unselfish to make my life much easier. I love to crab and my doctor told me that I will not be pulling any crab pots over the side of the boat this year. When Big Willie heard this he designed and built a custom crab puller for my boat. He had it done so fast that I could not believe it. I would have thought that it would have taken almost a year to complete.

So how do you say Thank you to a person that has given so much of himself?

I am interested if anyone else has a friend that would go this far?

Big Willie - Thank you -
 

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That is a very good friend indeed

MM
 
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